By Todd Farino, www.thecloserreport.com
Well, here comes Drew Storen.
Last February, I wrote about Storen and told my readers that he would eventually get called up, but wouldn't be the most effective pitcher in his rookie season. In 2010, Storen put up solid numbers with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
By the end of the season, he was closing for the Nationals and saved five games in seven chances.
Clearly those weren't the numbers expected by those who drafted him, but it was exactly what I expected. Storen still had to mature as a major league closer even though he was one on the college level. I also felt that just having a terrific curveball and fastball weren't enough to close out games.
He worked in his slider 28 percent of the time and has yet to gain confidence in his changeup. Once he develops that pitch, it will give him a second devastating out pitch along with his slider.
I don't like the idea of a closer using a curveball in the ninth inning. Curveballs are in general inconsistent, can hang and are relatively unreliable as strikes. Besides, hitters in the ninth aren't looking for them and likely won't swing unless they have too.
Plus, you can't throw nine or 10 straight curveballs. Having a changeup that is good would make all the difference for Storen and will likely make his curveball more useful.
With a third pitch in his arsenal and hopefully a fourth one down the road, Storen should continue to develop into an elite closer and by seasons end that will show. I have Drew Storen ranked 19th on my 2011 Draft Kit with 33 saves.
If he was on a better team, he could be capable of saving 38-40 games.
Beware that Storen will still face growing pains and have some moments during the season. Don't worry, when it's all done and said the Nationals closer will put up worthy numbers.
Draft him with confidence.